To misquote Dr McCoy from Star Trek… “It’s back to the office Jim, but not as we know it.”
Our office has been closed since lockdown in March and I’m grateful that we passed the remote working from home test with flying colours. Thanks go to all my colleagues for their professionalism and dedication to continue to give all of our clients the best service.
I’m no spring chicken and have been working in an office environment for about 40 years. There have been the odd days here and there where I worked from home when I needed solitude to work on a particularly knotty project. So, I was quite surprised on returning to the office last week with a few colleagues to put our collective toes in the water, to find that I felt like a schoolboy arriving in senior school for the first day. This seemed like an unfamiliar place and not at all like the home office that has been my place of work these last few months.
It seems that many large organisations are not intending to return to the office with the majority of workers until 2021. Smaller organisations such as ourselves are tentatively trying to bring back some workers, perhaps on shift systems to keep safe distancing.
Governments worldwide appear unsure on how to guide us and deliver workable solutions to balance physical and economic health needs. With expectations of the threat of Covid or some other virus being with us for some time, perhaps years, it seems likely that the return to the office will not be an all or nothing. It may be starts and stops depending on lockdown guidance. A bit like the doing the Hokey Cokey… “You put left foot it, your left foot out…”.
As always in life, every threat has an opportunity lurking. For contractors, working freelance, working from home a number of days a week could be powerful. It could protect the freelance nature of what they do, provide fewer travelling hours, which can be used for more chargeable hours or personal time, fewer stay away from home days leading to a better work-life balance. Organisations who previously would not allow working from home due to cyber security have found the solutions now to allow it.
We, as your accountants, like you should be looking for methods to turn this inevitable change to working practices to our advantage, to provide better services, better work-life balance and enjoyable and profitable work going forward.